The upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris will introduce break dancing (breaking) as an official Olympic sport. With hip-hop culture, especially breaking, popular in France, it is only fitting that these Summer Games would be the ideal debut for break dancing. Looking into the local breakdancing community, Alexandre Desane (@gachisvision) shows us, through his realistic and unique style of film photography, the b-boys, b-girls, and community, dancing on the streets of France.
Breaking can trace its roots back to the start of hip-hop culture in the Bronx during the 70s. The term break comes from the short instrumental portion of a song (usually a drum break ) which is then looped by the DJ. This allows the dancers to hop on and showcase their moves. Hip-hop's impact moved beyond the Bronx as the culture started to go global during the 80s. In France, hip-hop culture is said to have started in the suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis located in Eastern Paris. It was here where different sub-cultures such as skaters, graffiti artists, rappers, and dancers, formed a community that revolved around hip-hop. According to Alexandre, breaking got more exposure in France in 1998 because France was a finalist for "Battle of the Year 1998" which at that time was the ultimate competition for breaking.
"The France team "The Family" lost against the American team "Rock Force Crew" because of a stupid rule, where one dancer can’t touch the opponents. It was a big controversy because the French team was really on top of their game against the USA. Then in 2001, another French team "Wanted" was at the Battle of the Year Final and won. Because of this, more and more people became more interested in breaking."
"I like movement, I try to capture the energy on a breaking photo, I don’t want dancing pictures to be perfectly frozen. I like blur and out-of-focus action pictures. Some pictures are made with an Olympus OM-1 working on Kodak Gold 200 and Lomo 800, and some with a disposable camera. I like grain a lot."
@gachisvision has been part of the culture since 1998 ever since he saw a program on TV that showcased breakdancing. His photos showcase how the culture is still thriving and alive in France. With Gachivision's photos, you can notice how he can capture each dancer and move. He's able to capture dancers in motion with intentional blur showing the transition from step to step.
Using film soups and distressing, @gachisvision presents how he's able to combine ideals of dance and photography.
"The last pictures are a technique I’m still working on, I want to break the picture to illustrate this breaking dance. I created a custom film soup where I mixed 1/3 lime and 1/3 rum and 1/3 hot water. I then put it in a jar for 24 hours then rinsed it the next day where I put it in a jar with rice for another month, and then developed it"
Alexandre describes his photography as "slow and detailed". He says that he tends to be economical when shooting with film and he makes sure that every shot is framed with purposeful intention.
"I usually shoot instinctively, when I find something beautiful I take a shot and sometimes I make series, like "Le Break Français" focusing on French Breaking scene, my goal is to shoot dancing like a dancer and as a dancer, I look a lot at details not necessarily the moves, but the way one put his/her hand on the floor, the way he/her is dressed it gives another amplitude to the movement and the move itself. Most of these shots are taken within breaking events because nobody will fake it, I want these pictures to be authentic, not staged."
We thank @gachisvision for showcasing the breaking culture of Paris. You can follow him on his socials here. If you have any stories about dance culture let us know down below. For any cool photos about subcultures feel free to message me @rocket_fries0036.